While it’s common for fans to look forward to popular book titles being made into upcoming movies (see Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Fifty Shades of Grey, etc.), sometimes the trend goes the other way, and fans of movies are inspired to read the book that started it all (for example, with classics like Lord of the Rings, Pride and Prejudice, or The Great Gatsby).
It may be strange, but I personally prefer to watch the movie before reading the book. This is because a well-written book is always good, regardless of whether you’ve seen the movie first or not. On the other hand, if I’ve already read the book, I sometimes find the movie lacking because it can’t match up to my imagination. I have also found that if the movie is good, it leaves me craving more. What better way to satisfy that craving than picking up the book! It’s such a great way to discover new authors and titles.
With that in mind, here are some fun movies that inspired me to seek out their book adaptations.
The dystopian movie The Postman, starring Kevin Costner, has all the elements that I enjoy in a plot. It’s both exciting and inspiring. After a war that causes a three-year winter, the country splinters, leaving survivors struggling to stay alive in their little communities. Kevin Costner plays a drifter who finds a postman’s skeleton, complete with mail and uniform. He decides to use it to his advantage, crafting the lie that he is a postman in a restored government. To his surprise, though, communities are eager to hear him tell stories about the new president and to actually give him mail to be delivered! Reluctantly pulled into his own ruse, he ends up deputizing another postman, and before long, an actual postal system begins to thrive. But not everyone is happy about this: a local commander sees the threat a postal route could pose to his personal empire and starts to hunt down postmen. In the showdown between the mail and an army, who will win? I only recently discovered that this movie was based on a well-written sci-fi book of the same name, The Postman by David Brin. So if the movie makes you want more, like it did for me, check out the book!
Another book that I was surprised to enjoy so much was the young adult sci-fi romance The Host by Stephanie Meyer. I first watched the movie The Host (starring Saoirse Ronan) and was instantly sucked into the world of parasitic aliens (called “souls”) that invade new worlds by stealing the bodies and minds of their hosts. What makes it so interesting is that the souls claim to be peace-loving but somehow cannot see that erasing other species’ minds is not very peaceful. In the story, Wanderer is a soul who has traveled through many different worlds before coming to earth and taking a human host named Melanie. However, Wanderer is unprepared for the fierceness of Melanie’s will to live. Melanie, a human fleeing the invasion, is determined to protect her friends and her little brother: she refuses to be stopped by an alien in her head, stubbornly holding onto her own personality. The two fight each other for possession of their shared body until Wanderer is brought to a human stronghold, where she comes to love humanity. Meanwhile, there are those whose mission is to see that every last human body has a soul controlling it. Will Melanie and Wanderer be able to work together, or are souls and humans too different to co-exist?
Finally, I loved the fantastical movie Inkheart, an entertaining film that combines books, magic, adventure, and Brendan Fraser. He plays a character named Mo, who has the magical power of making book characters come alive—literally! When Mo accidentally frees a great evil from a book with his talent, his family is torn apart. Vowing to never read aloud again, Mo and his young daughter, Meggie, try to stay off the radar and avoid his mistakes. But before long, Meggie discovers her father’s secret and heads off on a quest to save both her family and the world. Watching this movie inspired me to pick up the book, Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, which was just as imaginative. I love that idea of characters being dragged out of their books and interacting in our world.
These are just a handful of the enjoyable adaptations out there, but without these movies I would never have discovered some great books. Are there any book/movie combinations that you couldn’t resist?